Sunday, November 7, 2010

How To Scare Kids And Influence People.

When arguing about food and food policy in this country, children are often used as pawns.  Nobody can stand the thought of anything bad happening to our kids.  This is why baby formula and school lunch food are some of the most heavily regulated things in the food industry.

But that is all about scaring the adults who are concerned for the kids.  To my knowledge, this is the first instance I've seen of scaring the children directly... and it sickens me.

Watch this video:

He's done this 'experiment' time and time again in his home country.  So he's experienced in scaring kids.  He then goes on to say that chicken nuggets are not made this way in the United States... just before he tells kids how the chicken nuggets they love are made.  Did you catch that?  In the intro for the segment, he admits he is lying to little kids.

Now body language is very important when interacting with kids.  Be aggressive or frown at the right moment and you make the impression that what you're doing is bad/wrong/disgusting. Look at what he does at about the 1:30 mark where, after explaining that everything else on the chicken was good and has value, he then asks the kids, 'You want to eat some?' as he waves the raw chicken at their faces.  Substitute the chicken with liver, asparagus, beans, cottage cheese, or triple cream brie while making those motions and you'll get the same reaction.

A couple things:

To me, this is no different than indoctrinating kids with... religion, racism, hatred, violence...ignorance.  He leads them with emotional cues and body language.  Amazingly, the kids still said they would eat it.

He took the very poorly deboned carcass(still lots of breast meat left on), cut it up and said it was horrible.  Are you telling us, Mr. Oliver, that you never make chicken stock?  You don't submerge those 'nasty bits' under a pot of cold water and slowly bring it to a simmer for several hours, reducing the liquid and extracting the flavor?  Hmm.  Interesting.  I only went to Johnson & Wales for a trimester and it's the first thing you learn in stocks and sauces.  Also, are we saying that using the meat on the bone is bad and throwing the ugly meat away is good?

Why not teach the kids how to make their own chicken nuggets or chicken fingers?  Why not teach them safe knife handling skills?  Why not explain what calories are and how our bodies deal with excess calories?  Why not do any of that instead of trying to scare children and adults?

It isn't the food, it's the quantity.  By dumping a bunch of prepackaged goodies on some fat woman's table and making her cry, are you really more effective than showing her how to use Excel to track and add the nutrients and calories of the food she eats?  Is it better than showing her how to shop for ingrediants that are cheap, nutrient dense, and last the week?  Is it better than showing her basic recipes, techniques, and tips to help her plan meals she never thought she had time for?

This show seems to be all about scaring kids and influencing people.  Jamie Oliver and his producers may mean well, but they go about it in the worst way possible.  Exploiting a region of people, a body type, and children is a high ratings, high trauma approach that will either create more misguided activists, or shame those people and make their situations even worse.